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Apple Brings Metal Technology to Final Cut Pro X

Apple’s Metal technology enhances graphics performance. A new graphics engine in Final Cut Pro X adds support for Metal and Pro Display XDR.

By Chand Bellur

October 13, 2019 at 8:42 p.m. PDT

Metal Enhances Graphics Performance Without Additional Hardware

Apple’s Metal API was first added to iOS several years ago. It’s known as Metal because it allows developers to run graphics code directly on the hardware — bare to the metal. The API offers abstract tools — one need not be an electrical engineer to write Metal code. Of course, it takes some software engineering expertise, however, Apple’s Metal API makes is much simpler for developers to create high performance graphics.

Metal first debuted in iOS 8 back in 2014. Video game developers, such as Epic, quickly adopted the technology, creating peerless mobile games. Apple eventually ported the technology to OS X El Capitan the following year. In 2017, Apple launched the updated Metal 2 API. With better machine learning capabilities and easier profiling and debugging, Metal 2 offers incremental improvements over its predecessor.

Metal can also be used for computational programs. Scientists, data researchers and other mathematical professionals can use graphics hardware to execute computations. Metal’s technology has implications far beyond gaming and graphics.

Final Cut Pro X Adds Support for Metal

Developers need to explicitly add support for Metal. With complicated apps, such as Final Cut Pro X, updating the graphics engine to utilize Metal is no easy task. Metal has been available on the Mac for over 5 years, however, Final Cut Pro is just getting the technology. Metal makes high performance graphics easier to develop, but it’s still a challenge for top software engineers.

According to Apple, MacBook Pro users will see 20% faster performance. For those with an iMac Pro, expect to see gains of up to 35%.

Final Cut Pro X also adds support for Sidecar. The new technology allows macOS Catalina users to turn an iPad into a second display.

Pro Display XDR Fully Supported in Final Cut Pro X

Apple’s new Pro Display XDR monitor is fully supported with the latest Final Cut Pro X update. Editors will be able to view 6K video at 1000 nits of sustained brightness, peaking up to 1600 nits. Power users can connect up to three Pro Display XDR’s, with full support in Final Cut Pro X.

The new Final Cut Pro X update is available now. Simply launch the App Store and click on the Updates tab to access the update, if your Mac isn’t configured for automatic updates.


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